Saturday, June 27, 2009

Line Rider; Online Drawing Game

One of the tricks I try to use to help my students learn to draw is to have them imagine they're flea-sized astronauts hiking along an alien terrain, while looking at an object or a model and concentrating on it's edges, and simultaneously record the contours as they observe them.

I just saw this website featured on a McDonald's commercial of all things. It is really fun and their sledder is a lot like my flea.

Watch one of their movies first to learn how to do it first.

I think every high school drawing student should try it to improve your perception of edges and contours! Have fun, but beware, it's addictive.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Easy Scribble

TIP: Hold the pen easily, near the middle, or even further back if you like. Don't hold the pen down near the point as you do when you write.

Visualize your paper with a continuous line that wanders over the paper in every possible direction. You may call it scribbling if you like. Move your pen in the air over the paper without touching it, as if you were making these lines with ease and confidence. See the page well scribbled in your mind's eye.

Now actually make the lines you just visualized. Pay attention that you don't change your hold on your pen. Keep your drawing hand and arm off the paper. Your arm moves freely guiding the pen.

It is not necessary to make any pattern or to organize your scribbles. Just relax and fill up the page with every conceivable movement you can invent. Have fun. When the page is fairly dense with lines, stop.

Later, when you begin to draw subjects, continue to hold and move your pen or pencil in the same easy, free way.

Your Goals and Strategies

List your goals on a new page in your sketchbook. Ask yourself: What will be required to feel really good about my drawing ability? What is my purpose for drawing? What do I want to accomplish?

Design your outcomes. While you are writing goals, you may want to list other goals that don't have anything to do with drawing. Once you know what your goals are, you can decide what you need to do to reach them- what you need to change, what you need to learn, and what you need to unlearn.

The next step in building your foundation is to write down all the strategies that occur to you. What do you think you need to do to be able to draw the way you want to? For example, you might write:
  1. I must learn to see better
  2. I need to relax and let go
  3. I have to learn techniques
  4. I need some lessons
Now, make your own list. List all the things you think you'll need to do.

Reasons you CAN draw

"Attitude is always more important than aptitude. With the right attitude you will be committed to your task and success will be assured." ~Robert Dvorak

Take all the reasons you THINK you cannot draw the way you would like to, and rewrite them in your sketchbook as statements that serve your purpose- learning to draw, or to draw with greater skill, spontaneity, etc. It is not necessary that you actually believe what you write. Just do the exercise and be aware of how it feels.

Here are some examples of reasons listed, then listed as POSITIVE statements.
  • NEG- I don't have any talent.
  • POS+ I can learn to draw whether I think I have talent or not.
  • NEG- When it comes to drawing, I'm just no good.
  • POS+ When it comes to drawing, I can become good.
  • NEG- My brother/sister is the one who's good at it in our family.
  • POS- My brother/sister was always good at it. Now I can be an artist in the family too.
  • NEG- It never comes out the way I want it to.
  • POS+ I can alwyay accept the way it comes out, because that was my experience at that time.
Now, make your own list. Remember take all the reasons you think can't draw the way you would like to, but write them in your sketchbook as positive statements that serve your purpose.

Benefit List

There are many benefits for you. Think of as many as you can, and list them in your sketchbook. Include those included in the list below. Add additional benefits you become aware of as you study Drawing this semester. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Write your answers in your sketchbook.

  1. What can drawing do for me?
  2. What can drawing change for me?
  3. How am I going to be able to use drawing?
  4. What can drawing teach me?
  5. How can drawing help me grow?

Here is a list of possible benefits from artist Robert Dvorak's book 'Experiential Drawing:'
  • develops concentration skills
  • increases perception and awareness
  • means of expression
  • mode of communication
  • helps you discover your creativity
  • relaxing and energizing process
  • develop ability to imagine and create
  • satisfaction from sense of accomplishment
  • & therefore, increased self-esteem

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book suggestion

Experiential Drawing Experiential Drawing by Robert R. Dvorak

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
INTERESTING, A lot of the same concepts as Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, but a lot less technical. Much easier to read and tons of really practical exercises for people first learning to draw. Think I'll use a lot of this to supplement or even replace a lot of what I teach already. I definitely recommend this to anyone who'd like to try to teach themselves to draw. I think it may be out of print, so you'll have to order a used copy, but what the heck, that's usually cheaper. Good stuff. I've been teaching Drawing for 16+ years now and been seeking out and/or reading books on drawing for a lot longer than that and this is the first one that I like nearly as much as Drawing on the Right Side- WHAT A FIND!

View all my reviews.

Book Report

Slapstick Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
That was fun. All the existential angst of Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but none of the tedious Buddhist calm or the superior Hippie moralizing. This was fast, fun, absurdist, apocalyptic romp.

The "King of New York" (island of death), who happens to be the last President of the United States regales us with his tales of the decline and fall of Western civilization, the technological and spiritual transcendence of the Chinese, and the development of the "Church of Jesus Christ, Kidnapped."

Now back to the gentle pace of Zen and Motorcycles.

View all my reviews.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Senior Portrait Specifications for the Yearbook

It’s time to have your child’s senior portrait taken if you haven’t already. Pictures are due to the yearbook staff October 15, 2010. Portraits received after October 15 are not guaranteed to be included in the yearbook.

Here are some pretty good area photographers that you might want to look into-

  • Brass Shutter in Denison 263-4321
  • Chelle's Creative Photo in Woodbine 647-2101
  • Debbies in Dow City 643-5472
  • Everlasting Portraits in Mapleton 882-1160
  • Fiahston Photography in Moorhead 886-5606
  • Portraits by Hope in Dow City 263-8882

And if you absolutely can't afford anybody else, and you don't mind only getting a CD and having to print your own, there's always me- "mal•com" (Mr. Mallory) But know ahead of time that my availability depends on my schedule and prior family commitments.

While most major photography studios in the area already have these specifications, please have your photographer make a print that matches the following:

Head-and-shoulder shots only

No full body, no props

Plain backgrounds preferred, indoor shots preferred

Photo size: 1 ¾ inches tall by 1 ½ inches wide

Photos must be vertical

Head size from top of head to chin: 1 inch maximum

COLOR photos, please. No black and white.

Pictures turn out better if they are submitted digitally rather than our having to scan a print. If your photographer will submit photos digitally they must be 120% size at 300 ppi. They can be submitted on CD, DVD, on USB flashdrive or online. Please e-mail pictures to will work if you take your own too).

If you or your child chose not to have a local photo studio take their portrait or can not afford to, either Mr. Mallory, the Yearbook Advisor or Mrs. Hanigan, the Student Newspaper Advisor, are available to take a simple "head shot" for the yearbook.